My Diploma thesis in Marketing at the TUM School of Management about “Assessing the influence of environmental identity on consumer purchase intention for green products” was handed in last year (it was graded 1.3, which is an A in Germany). Its main purpose was to derive implications for sustainable product development in the outdoor apparel market. The scope of the conducted international online survey surpassed the amount of specific results needed for statistical analysis in my paper. Therefore, the additional outcome of marketing research will be published here in several steps:

Part 1: Descriptive results of the study including consumer attitudes, the influence of social norms and perceived obstacles in the buying process in regard to green clothing.

Part 2: Does the outdoor sports participation frequency affect our level of connectedness to nature? And in return, does a strong environmental identity directly or indirectly influence consumer purchase intentions?

Part 3: Which psychological variables influence consumers’ buying intentions for green outerwear the strongest?

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To achieve this goal it was paramount to develop consumer profiles that help to understand the perception of environmentally friendly product attributes and the influences on green consumer decision-making better. Demographic profiles have frequently failed to predict environmentally conscious consumer behavior[1] and to describe target groups[2] properly. Gender, age, education and income are not suited to shed light on green consumerism. And motivations that affect the decision-making process are very complex and often result in a large gap between a consumer’s intention to purchase sustainable products and her actual behavior.

A well-known research framework[3] based on environmental psychology had the potential to overcome these issues by establishing a psychographic profile of environmentally concerned consumers, which will provide insight into their attitudes, identity and motivations. This approach helps to derive practical implications for product development and marketing activities for companies with a sustainable corporate strategy.

The 1st part is being published soon.

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References:

[1] Straughan, Robert D and James A Roberts (1999), “Environmental segmentation alternatives: a look at green consumer behavior in the new millennium,” Journal of Consumer Marketing, 16 (6), 558-75.

[2] Diamantopoulos, Adamantios, Bodo B Schlegelmilch, Rudolf R Sinkovics, and Greg M Bohlen (2003), “Can socio-demographics still play a role in profiling green consumers? A review of the evidence and an empirical investigation,” Journal of Business Research, 56 (6), 465-80.

[3] The modified Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), Ajzen, Icek and Martin Fishbein (1980), Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behavior: Prentice Hall.

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